Growing up in the 80's, the movies were all about two guys--Stallone and Schwarzenegger. Rocky/Rambo vs. The Terminator/Commando/Conan. The amount of money these two grossed in the 80's is staggering. Right smack in the middle of it, in 1985, Stallone reigned supreme. He had two out of the top three biggest hits, bringing in $277 million with Rambo II and Rocky IV. When I think of "Sly" these are the movies that come to mind.
So why not the earlier ones? Why not the first one? It won best picture. Well, you have to understand that I got exposed to these movies all at the same time, not as they came out. So, to me, Rocky was the champ. Watching him lose in the first one, even though the first one was a great movie, was kind of disappointing. Great writing, yeah. Nice story... stairs, running, whatever... not my fav. Oh, and is Adrian more annoying when she's completely social inept in the first one or when she's the nagging wife later on?
So now there's two. He gets another shot at the title. Well, I didn't really like that he lost in the first one, but I don't really like the fact that he has to beat Apollo in this one. Apollo's not a bad guy. He's Rocky's bud later on... he teaches him how to beat Mr. T. They're on the same side. So, if you've seen the later ones, it kind of takes a little bit of steam out of the early rivalry. Still, its nice to see Rocky become the champ here.
As for three, well, this one is kind of a joke. Its the parade of the 80's icons... Hulk Hogan. Mr. T. BTW... I can't believe they kill Mick in this one! Bold move. Funniest moment from watching III for the first time at Brian's house was Brian saying, "Rocky's Jewish?" when they're at Mick's funeral and he's got a yarmulkah on. His brother Jimmy, who I think is one of the funniest people I've ever met, returned with, "Yeah, that's why they call him the Italian Stallion."
No, for my taste, its four. At the height of the cold war (at least as far as I knew, anyway), you've got USA vs. USSR. The Italian Stallion from Philly against Mother Russia. Its just so dramatic its totally ridiculous, but its perfect. Dolph Londgren has about three lines and they're all classic.
"If he dies, he dies"
"I must break you."
"You will lose."
His coach is great, too...
"Whatever he hits, he destroys."
Londgren is just so larger than life, towering over Rocky, that its unreal. But Rocky's trained hard. He's chopped wood.. a lot of it. He's run in snow and lifted carts full of people. Plus, he's been listening to Vince DiCola's "War" throughout the whole movie, even though it never works for the Mets at Shea when they're down late.
Plus, its got James Brown!
I just love everything about this movie. Drago is definitely in my top villains list (that's one I definitely have to do... I love bad guys). I think one of the only downsides is that its a reminder of how badly Bridgitte Nielson has aged.... that and the stupid robot scenes with Paulie. (Why does Paulie even need to exist anyway?)
So, you might disagree, but for a kid who grew up in the 80's, Rocky IV is where its at.